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Rossi-Pool, Roman; Zainos, Antonio; Alvarez, Manuel; Zizumbo, Jeronimo; Vergara, Jose; Romo, Ranulfo (2017)

DECODING A DECISION PROCESS IN THE NEURONAL POPULATION OF DORSAL PREMOTOR CORTEX

Neuron 96(6):1432-+
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When trained monkeys discriminate the temporal structure of two sequential vibrotactile stimuli, dorsal premotor cortex (DPC) showed high heterogeneity among its neuronal responses. Notably, DPC neurons coded stimulus patterns as broader categories and signaled them during working memory, comparison, and postponed decision periods. Here, we show that such population activity can be condensed into two major coding components: one that persistently represented in working memory both the first stimulus identity and the postponed informed choice and another that transiently coded the initial sensory information and the result of the comparison between the two stimuli. Additionally, we identified relevant signals that coded the timing of task events. These temporal and task-parameter readouts were shown to be strongly linked to the monkeys' behavior when contrasted to those obtained in a non-demanding cognitive control task and during error trials. These signals, hidden in the heterogeneity, were prominently represented by the DPC population response.